Lawrence LeShan’s A New Science of the Paranormal is a very readable and excellent tome, which seeks to address the way forward for research into the paranormal and fringe areas of consciousness research. Lawrence LeShan is a veteran researcher in the field, and at just 125 pages, this book makes for a quick, enjoyable and thought-provoking read.
As with my other intuitive reviews, I will take a look at not only the explicit knowledge detailed in the book, but I will also add my intuitive insights into the writer, and the way his psyche has helped shape the book. I am a spiritual counselor, so in this process I apply a similar process to that which I apply when counseling people: I intuitively glean information from the psyche – in this case that of the writer. It shouldn’t surprise you then, that I am a “proponent” in the so-called “psi-wars.”
In A New Science LeShan argues passionately for the argument that the paranormal is crucial to understanding our place in the cosmos. Contemporary science and philosophy have created an extreme distortion of experience which alienates us from our spiritual roots, and psi experience can help redress that imbalance. I am reminded of Susan Blackmore’s 1996 paper “What can psi teach us about consciousness?” Blackmore concluded that it can teach us nothing, basically because it doesn’t exist, and especially in lieu of her belief that consciousness does not have agency. LeShan’s and Blackmore’s perspectives are diametrically opposite, yet the question is crucial. Let me then be clear. My long experience in working with the intuitive mind leads me to conclude that LeShan is correct. Blackmore’s position, although supported by mainstream establishment thinking in science, is simply wrong. As LeShan states, this is a question of monumental importance, and I believe that A New Science is a little step in the right direction. LeShan calls the quest to understand psi “a terribly important adventure” and “the wild card in our seemingly hopeless attempt to get the human race off the endangered species list.” (p. 18)
LeShan lists four definitive ways “psychical research” can help move us forward. The following outcomes might occur if “the existence of large-scale psi events becomes part of the background assumptions in our culture.” (100)
1. The idea that we are separate, isolated entities will change.
2. We will see ourselves both as individuals and as part of something much greater. This is in line with the teachings of many spiritual traditions.
3. As a result of the first two points, the way we behave towards each other and the planet will change.
4. These changes will be of a significant scale, such that they will help the human race survive its current critical evolutionary impasse. (p. 101)
These are all positive outcomes which I concur can happen. However... (click below to read more)